Trump Doesn’t Totally Rule Out Supporting A David Duke Candidacy

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, speaks during the final day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Thursday, July 21, 2016. CREDIT: CAROLYN KASTER, AP
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, speaks during the final day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Thursday, July 21, 2016. CREDIT: CAROLYN KASTER, AP

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump didn’t completely rule out the possibility that he would support a Democrat running against David Duke, former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard, who announced he is running as a Republican for U.S. Senate seat in Louisiana.

When asked by Meet The Press’ Chuck Todd whether he would support a Democrat if it meant defeating Duke, Trump waffled, saying, “I guess, depending on who the Democrat, but the answer would be yes.”

Watch the video below:

Trump Quickly Rebukes David Duke – NBC NewsDonald Trump dismissed the senate run of former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke, who said he was inspired by Trump…www.nbcnews.comTrump was criticized the last time he didn’t completely reject Duke’s support of his candidacy on CNN’s State of the Union. In February, Duke, who has a radio show program, told his audience that not voting for Trump would be “treason to your heritage.” Duke said of the Trump campaign, “Get off your rear end that’s getting fatter and fatter for many of you everyday on your chairs. When this show’s over, go out, call the Republican Party, but call Donald Trump’s headquarters, volunteer.”

Although Trump said he disavowed Duke’s support a couple days before the interview, he did not completely condemn Duke in his interview with Tapper.

“Well, just so you understand, I don’t know anything about David Duke, OK? I don’t even know anything about what you’re talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists. Did he endorse me, or what’s going on? I know nothing about David Duke. I know nothing about white supremacists,” Trump said.

Trump did know who Duke was, however, because he talked about Duke in 2000 when he was asked whether he would run for president as a Reform Party candidate. He cited Duke, who joined the Reform Party as a reason why, saying on NBC’s Today Show that Duke is “a big racist, a problem.”

Trump also said he had to “look at the group” Duke belonged to and declined to acknowledge Tapper’s question about whether he heard of the Ku Klux Klan. Trump later said he had a “faulty earpiece” for his lack of disavowal of Duke on State of the Union.

Duke filed paperwork on Friday to run for a seat that will soon be vacated by Sen. David Vitter (R-LA). The last time he ran for political office was in 1999 for Louisiana’s First Congressional District. Duke said in his announcement last week that “I believe in equal rights for all and respect for all Americans … However, what makes me different is I also demand respect for the rights and the heritage of European-Americans … I’m overjoyed to see Donald Trump and most Americans embrace most of the issues that I’ve championed for years.”

The state Republican Party said it opposes his candidacy. Trump spokesperson Hope Hicks told The New York Times, “Mr. Trump has disavowed David Duke and will continue to do so” on Friday.

A top GOP consultant, Rick Wilson, tweeted in response to Trump’s interview with Todd:

None of this is very surprising, however, given the tenor of Trump’s campaign so far. Trump has retweeted white supremacists. Matt Forney, a white supremacist who said “Blacks do nothing but murder cops, rob and rape people” was given access to report live from the floor of the RNC, and one white supremacist was reportedly a delegate for Trump.

But one doesn’t need to look to the white supremacists around Trump or to retweets of white supremacist Twitter accounts for evidence of support of extreme views. You can simply examine what comes out of Trump’s mouth. In fact, Duke said of Trump, “I don’t agree with everything he says, he speaks a little more, actually he speaks a little more, a lot more radically than I talk. And I think that’s a positive and negative.”

In Trump’s announcement of his campaign for president last year, he spouted anti-immigrant rhetoric supported by white supremacists, saying that Mexican immigrants are “rapists.”